ESOMAR Latin America Regional Conference Summary

With more than 20 presentations and multiple debates, ESOMAR Latin America 2014, Accelerating Growth took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina from April 2nd to 4th and contributed both to clarifying Latin America´s potential as a growth region for companies and exemplifying the importance of market research to sustaining this growth. Around 200 Senior Executives from over 20 countries on-site were followed by more than 300 live-streaming viewers worldwide making this conference the leader of the market research events specialized for and from the
region.

All eyes on Latin America

Guillermo Oliveto, Committee Chair and President of W Consulting Company in Argentina informed that the Latin American region grew 5,6% in 2012, a much stronger rate than the global average of 0,7% supported by several of the region’s characteristics such as its natural resources, its high educational standard and its capacity for change. Nevertheless, as Executive Director for Voices! Argentina, Constanza Cilley, mentioned, the region also has to confront relevant problems in insecurity, unemployment and corruption unveiling shocking and recent figures in her well received “firestarter” setting up a challenging agenda ahead.

It was very interesting to hear Brazilian consulting company MC15´s point of view about the repercussions of the cultural impact that organizing the 2014 World Cup will have on Brazil. On the other hand, Martin Schijvarg, Account Director at Millward Brown Argentina discussed the power and global impact of Latin American brands. Scott Rencher, Director at Euromonitor Latin America stated that with consumer expenditure of US$3.6 billion in 2013, the region has a similar expenditure to China but with a much higher per capita expenditure. He also highlighted the growing middle class and gave a very positive forecast for 2020.

The Digital Era

Regarding digital innovation, eCMetrics, a US based company as well as Ipsos and Google Argentina discussed the impact of social media in brand perception as well as the underexplored space in on-line measurement of the different stages of consumption. On their part Colombian company OMD presented Twitter´s progress in several local brands and PepsiCo Argentina showed their recent success in Latin America. Finishing this section, the Dutch company, Wakoopa, showcased Movistar´s success in Chile, presenting new techniques in passive measurement through internet.

One of the most notorious sessions was related to the recent advances of mobile phones as the core strategy in market research, currently applied by Heineken and presented by Miguel Ramos of the English company Confirmit. Subsequently Space Doctors, a company also of English origin, exhibited the most recent advances in the study of live semiotics within the patterns of culture.

Brand Culture and Creativity

Notable success stories were presented in several sessions, such as Zurich Life Latam and La Sante Laboratories Colombia who showed that culture is finally being able to define a sustainable strategy and not the other way around. Later Dutch companies Groh! and Belgacom, presented the comprehensive and strategic role of market research in product design- It is worth it to mention that they won the best presentation award by the audience. Esteban Socorro from Coca-Cola Latin America challenged the traditional parameters of marketing and its inability to connect the power of brands with brand equity in companies and the fact that it cannot currently solve the dilemmas of integration, influence and integrity that brands are facing today.

Advertising agencies JWT, BBDO and Santo, presented the debts of advertising in its role of further connecting with the socio-cultural context, to be bolder in communicating products and how market research could generate greater added value in the process of communication with the target audience. It was truly refreshing for a market research conference to incorporate the point of views of other industries such as advertising and more specifically creative planning.

The Challenges of Market Research in the Region

As concluded by the panel discussion led by major market research associations ARIA Alliance Americas, ESOMAR World Research, SAIMO & CEIM (Argentina) and WAPOR Latin America, market research needs to adapt to new technologies and continue its role in contextualizing and interpreting information to generate business opportunities to its customers. This applies from data collection through mobile phones and forgetting about pencils and papers, to the study of multiple social networks, with the idea of establishing the foundations of a new type of research that integrates culture and brand strategy, as well as to the new consumer habits appearing in the digital environment.

The ESOMAR Foundation

During the morning of the second day Gunilla Broadbent, President of the recently launched ESOMAR Foundation made a splash announcing how this initiative came together and gave a grant to the Argentinian based charity Tzedaka which means “social justice” the moment was both emotional and meaningful.

Wrapping Up

During this experience rather than just an event, the different styles of presentations aimed at improving the process of market research and to generate greater added value, deepening the comprehensive analysis and interpretation of data, without neglecting the prevailing context and organizational culture.

We can say that ESOMAR Latin America 2014 contributed to the improvement and promotion of best practices in market research through various and varied content covering and sharing experiences of key industry players in today´s challenging and dynamic environment.

Looking forward to ESOMAR Latin America 2015 in Brazil!